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Ukrainian, Russian now living in Indianapolis both want end to conflict

Russia Ukraine
Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-13 13:29:35-04

INDIANAPOLIS— Their journeys to the Hoosier state are completely different, but two complete strangers — one from Russia and the other from Ukraine — want exactly the same thing in their home countries: peace.

Zhanna Sinitsyna has been a ballerina for as long as she could remember. She escaped Russia in 1991 in search of a better life and eventually made her way to Indiana.

“In Moscow, they say it’s a very difficult situation. People are scared,” Sinitsyna said.

Sinitsyna was born in St. Petersburg and is currently a ballet instructor at Expressenz Dance Center.

“Of course, the Russian people right now are scared because they are all closed and they can't do anything,” Sinitsyna said.

Meanwhile, Sofiya Asher was born in Ukraine but has lived in Indiana for the last nine years.

Asher is a senior lecturer in Slavic and East European languages and cultures at Indiana University Bloomington.

“A lot of my students have friends back in Ukraine, so it’s difficult for them,” Asher said.

Sofiya and Zhanna are both caught in the crossroads of an invasion that is happening away from their current homes.

“On the streets, there are a lot of police there and they are watching them because it feels like a war,” Zhanna said.

It's impacting their daily lives but it hasn’t stopped the two of them from doing their jobs and more importantly what they love.

“As a native of Ukraine, I work hard on giving my students a platform to Ukraine, Ukrainian language Ukrainian people, less to what have caused someone to something to Ukraine,” Asher said.

Sofiya and Zhanna both have seen the invasion from two different sides as it enters its third week, but both ultimately just an end to the conflict.

“Myself and everybody I know who has family and connections in Ukraine for them it feels like one big one long nightmare,” Asher said.